New Vessel Brings Polar Prowess to Polar Latitudes

Frontier Spirit (Photo: Rick Garcia); Bremen (Photo: Sergio Ferreira)

Announcing a long-term charter of the Bremen (to be renamed Seascape), Polar Latitudes will add the ship to its fleet for the 2021-2022 Antarctica season. The 155-guest vessel can be considered the original purpose-built expedition cruise ship.

The Bremen has been with Hapag-Lloyd since 1993, and was originally built in Japan by Mitsubishi as the Frontier Spirit.

The ship was built through a joint partnership at the time between Salen Lindblad Cruises, NYK, Hapag-Lloyd and Mitsubishi, sailing her first cruise under the Frontier Cruises banner from Guam in late 1990.

Unique at the time, the ship was built to expedition specs, with a double bottom hull, strengthened propeller shafts and bow, and extra ice protection on the rudders.

Frontier Spirit (Photo: Rick Garcia)

The vessel was launched with a Super Ice Class rating, which made her a full classification higher than any existing expedition vessel at the time. It was also, at the time, the first new expedition ship to have been built since 1974.

In 1992 Frontier Cruises bought out Salen Lindblad Cruising and took over the full operation of the Frontier Spirit and the Caledonian Star under the SeaQuest Cruises brand. In the same year, it became the 53rd ship (the fourth passenger vessel) to successfully transit the Northwest Passage under the guidance of Captain Heinz Aye. The ship had to previously abandon a Northwest Passage attempt in 1991 due to pack ice.


In April 1993 the ship was acquired by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises as SeaQuest shut down its Florida office shortly thereafter, with its major shareholders opting to exit the small-ship cruise industry.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises announced the ship would leave its fleet in 2018, with Scylla buying the vessel, and set to take delivery in May 2021. The Swiss riverboat operator thus moves into the small-ship cruise market with plans to charter the ship out on a seasonal basis.

Photos: Frontier Spirit (Rick Garcia); Bremen (Sergio Ferreira)

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